SoftChalk Integration with Carmen Creates Simulations for Decision-Making

If you visit your doctor's office with a cough, you may be asked, "How long have you been feeling this way?" From there, a patient's unique presentation of symptoms guides the path to diagnosis and prescription.

For a nursing student in an advanced pharmacology course, there are two options to practice this patient-practitioner interaction: shuffle around a crowded lecture hall to role play with classmates or put pen to paper and write out a diagnostic scenario.

Both options have shortcomings, the first leaves little to no time for feedback, the second lacks authenticity and creates instructor review.

"There was another layer to the decision making that we couldn't quite reach," said Mary Alice Momeyer, assistant professor of clinical nursing. "Even chopping it down into small group activities didn't open up the avenue for meaningful discussion."

The opportunity to strategize around these shortcomings came in the form of a grant awarded to Momeyer from the College of Nursing. The "Designing Video Clinical Case Studies in an Advanced Pharmacology Course" project includes SoftChalk Cloud licenses, videos developed by Event Technologies in the Health Sciences Library, and a collaborative team to lead the charge.

With realistic learning outcomes in mind, Joni Tornwall, manager of instructional services within the College of Nursing, joined Momeyer to build patient interaction simulation for nursing students.

"SoftChalk opens up a new realm of tools, video clips followed by comprehension questions and self-check quizzes for reinforcement, that allow students to choose-their-own-adventure as they work through the modules," Tornwall said.

Branching Out

Facts are easy enough to memorize but when it comes to mastering application, nursing students need more.

"Decision-making is like a tree," Momeyer said. "There are multiple directions and students need to analyze the possibilities of those directions and then make the best decision."

To think like a nurse is a difficult concept to convey, but through filmed scenarios and intuitive question-and-answer sections, students are lead through the process in a manner Momeyer feels is authentic.

For example, in one case study Momeyer interacts with a patient (in this scenario a student) suffering from bronchitis. Students watch snippets of video before they are presented with a series of questions that lead them to the next piece of evidence before they develop a treatment plan.

"In this particular content area, pharmacology, there isn't one right answer. There could be multiple medication possibilities based on the unique patient and presentations of cases," Momeyer said.

SoftChalk has a branching feature that allows for course modules to take different directions based on student responses.

Enhancing the Experience

Marcus Merriman and Tyler Rolfes, both graduate students in the College of Nursing, provide insight into module development within the course. Their combined feedback shines a light on how students will most effectively interact with the content.

"From a student standpoint, flow is important. How you navigate through the course can make all the difference," Merriman said.

 SoftChalk is best used as a container for interactive course components. The Carmen integration provides additional ease with course embed and grade sync.

"Part of the attraction is that it creates a seamless student experience," Tornwall said. "Before SoftChalk, it would have been a very choppy experience to direct students to multiple places, click here or click there," Tornwall said.

While the case studies in Advanced Pharmacolgy 7470 are still a work in progress, the hope is that someday this course will function entirely at a distance. Saving time and enhancing results for both instructors and students.  

—Written by Hannah Brokenshire, Office of Distance Education and eLearning  |